We had three carpenters test 10 toolboxes and bags, and we found that the best is the Milwaukee 13″ Jobsite Work Box . Simply put, it’s the most efficient, portable, and organized toolbox we could find.
This toolbox stores tools vertically, keeping them organized, easy to find, and unlikely to shift around. It’s not the biggest, but it holds a complete tool collection at a size that’s manageable even when full.
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The biggest difference between the Milwaukee 13″ Jobsite Work Box and a traditional toolbox is the way it stores tools vertically in individual slots, so they stay in place and remain easy to access. This arrangement stands in stark contrast to the jumbled pile of tools that you typically see with other boxes. The Milwaukee isn’t the most capacious toolbox we found, but it holds a complete collection of basic tools, with a size and shape that’s easy to carry when full. With its lid on, you can use it as a seat, a unique feature we found convenient during eight months of testing while wrapping up a major home renovation.
If you want room to grow your tool collection or you use your tools a lot and like things extremely organized and accessible, we recommend the Custom LeatherCraft 1539 18″ Multi-Compartment Tool Carrier. The Milwaukee box comfortably stores the 25 or so tools in our collection of essential tools and has room for a few more, but the CLC can probably double that total. Even with fewer tools, the added space in this model means that nothing is cramped or jumbled together. The CLC is also the most organized of the toolboxes we looked at, with two large side panels that open to reveal three tiers of vertical storage pockets. It’s a great tool bag, but it typically costs about twice as much as the Milwaukee—it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re using it every day, but that’s more than you really have to pay to get an adequate container to store your tools for occasional projects.
If you have limited space, as in an apartment or condo, and you need a single box for not only tools but also screws, nails, glue, tape, and picture hangers, we recommend the Stanley Click ’N’ Connect 2-in-1 Toolbox. This model actually consists of two boxes that snap together; the larger one holds tools while the smaller, divided one holds accessories and smaller items. When it comes to tool storage, this Stanley box doesn’t offer much in the way of organization—you’ll end up with a jumbled pile of tools—but none of the other boxes we tested offered such compartmentalized storage for non-tool items. Just note that all of our testers were wary of its overall durability.
This guide is part of a larger series devoted to the best tools for the home. To see the rest of our selections, check out our full guide.